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Mission Statement: The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International exists to provide a rallying point for Fundamental Baptists seeking personal revival and the opportunity to work with committed Bible-believers in glorifying God through the uncompromising fulfillment of the Great Commission.  As the journal of the FBFI, FrontLine Magazine provides a forum for God’s people to reverently express a conservative Christian perspective on pertinent issues. In an effort to keep readers informed, quotes and references to many different individuals and organizations will appear. This does not imply the endorsement of the magazine or its board. Unsolicited manuscripts and artwork accepted for review. Advertising: For information contact Harvest Media at (847) 352-4345 or FAX (866) 583-5709. All advertising in FrontLine is for the sole purpose of sharing valuable resource materials with our readers. Although we carefully screen the materials, we are not giving a blanket endorsement of any products or advertisers.

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hrist’s coming is imminent. Or is it “immanent” . . . ?   No, no—“eminent,” right? Um, does it really matter? These three terms have to do with critically important Bible doctrines. Jesus’ coming is imminent—He could come at any time (Rev. 22:20). God is both immanent and transcendent: both present in His creation and existing in a different category from it (Matt. 28:20; Isa. 6:1). Eminent isn’t a theological word, really, but it does appear in Ezekiel to refer to something very prominent (16:24ff.). It’s important to use the right word. I once saw a doctrinal statement for a small Baptist college, now defunct. “We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins,” the statement said, “as a reprehensive and substitutionary sacrifice.” I’m pretty sure I know what they meant—“representative.” And that’s good doctrine: when Christ died He died representing me. But what they actually said was weird at best, heresy at worst. Somebody there mixed up “representative” and “reprehensible.” We all do this: it’s called a “malapropism.” For example: “He must have been diluted to think he could win that basketball game!” or “Do you believe in the five tenants of Calvinism?” The other day in a world-class publication I saw “take it for grant it” instead of “take it for granted.” Generally, people have no trouble understanding the message in these cases, because (1) malapropisms tend to rhyme with the words they displace and (2) context makes the intended meaning quite clear. Nobody really thought that this small Fundamentalist college was saying that Jesus’ sacrifice deserved censure and condemnation. As I said, we all commit malapropisms—but not usually in doctrinal statements, where precise wording is the whole point. For someone to let such an embarrassing malapropism into a doctrinal statement suggests. . . . Well, it suggests that we Christians are what we are: a group of people into which “not many wise . . ., not many noble” are called (1 Cor. 1:26). It’s awkward to say so, but the reality is that some Christians will never get imminent, immanent, and eminent straight. God called them knowing full well that their educational opportunities were limited. He delights to use the weak to shame the strong. And He gave them other gifts. If you are blessed by God with the years of education (and the personal inclination) necessary to keep commonly confused words fully distinct in your mind—if you never mix up “affect” and “effect,” “lie” and “lay,” “nauseated” and “nauseous”—then use your gifts for God’s glory. But, you dictionary, you, don’t say to the auto repair manual in your church—or the farmer’s almanac, or the cookbook—“I have no need of thee” (1 Cor. 12:21). And if you didn’t know that there were such words as “imminent” (coming soon), “immanent” (inherent), and “eminent” (famous), ask for a little help when writing doctrinal statements. We need each other’s gifts. Dr. Mark L. Ward Jr. writes Bible textbooks at BJU Press and designs church websites at Forward Design.


As Ye See the Day Approaching: Why Prophecy Still Matters (May/June 2015)  
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